The provincial government’s plan to change how we categorize agricultural land has received strong opposition.
The proposed legislation (Bill 24) would divide BC’s agricultural land into two zones — Zone 1 would generally maintain the status quo for lands in the Agricultural Land Reserve, while Zone 2 lands will be more easily opened up to other forms of development.
It has been suggested that the entire Kootenay/Boundary region should become Zone 2.
The City of Nelson introduced a resolution requesting that regions wanting to be considered Zone 1 should not be arbitrarily categorized as Zone 2 and that the government allow local governments to apply to remain as Zone 1 if they wish.
Recently, the Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments passed a modified version of that idea, requesting the provincial government delay approving Bill 24 and undertake consultation with the public, the Union of BC Municipalities and other affected parties.
This resolution seems to make the most sense. Any changes to the classification of agricultural land can be a permanent commitment.
Once a piece of land is developed for a new purpose, it’s difficult for it to return to farm use.
That means that piece of farmland is lost forever.
There is only so much usable farmland in the province. Land that grows our food and houses our livestock. The government and the public have to ensure that we use this limited space wisely. A little more discussion seems prudent.
New development is still important. People need houses to live in and businesses to work at.
However, we all have to eat as well.